Bears Soccer Academy Staff

Gary Higgins, Camp Director

Hired in January of 2015, Gary Higgins just ended his second season as Head Women's Soccer Coach at Lenoir-Rhyne this fall.

This past year, Higgins was able to keep the Bears at the top of the conference despite losing 14 seniors from the season prior.  In 2016, Lenoir-Rhyne went 13-5-2 on the year including an 8-2-1 mark in league play and won a share of the SAC Regular Season Championship.

Lenoir-Rhyne also earned a berth in the NCAA Division II Playoffs while Higgins was named the 2016 South Atlantic Conference Coach Of The Year.

Five players earned all-league honors with four garnering all-region accolades.  Abigael McGarel was also named the 2016 SAC Freshman Of The Year.

Higgins led the Bears to a 12-4-2 record two years ago - Lenoir-Rhyne's eighth straight winning season - and went unbeaten (6-0-2) over its final eight matches of the season.  The Bears also placed five players on the All-SAC First Team in 2015.

In two seasons, Higgins has compiled a 25-9-4 as Bears mentor.

Higgins came to Lenoir-Rhyne after spending three years as an Assistant Coach for the Tusculum Men's Soccer Team (2012-14).

Higgins graduated from Lenoir-Rhyne in 2010 with a bachelor's degree in health and exercise science and earned his master's in liberal arts the following fall while serving as an Assistant Men's Soccer Coach for the Bears.

Higgins played four years on the men's soccer team at Lenoir-Rhyne (2006-09), where he earned All-South Atlantic Conference and all-region honors twice while being named an honorable mention All-American by Daktronics in 2007.

In addition, Higgins led the Bears to a 19-1-1 record in 2006 and a berth in the championship match of the NCAA Division II Appalachian Region Tournament.

Higgins also played semi-professionally in the United States including stints with the Reading (Pa.) Rage of the USL Premier Development League and the Knoxville Force of the NPSL.  Higgins led the Rage to the league semifinals in 2008 and was named Team Most Valuable Player.

Higgins has both his NSCAA National Diploma and USSF National D coaching license and has served as a coach on the club level for over five years as well as assisting the North Carolina ODP.

Higgins is married to the former Klara Ledford.  The couple has one daughter, Mirin Sarah, born in November of 2016.

Jack Winter, Director of Operations

Jack Winter just finished his first season as Head Men's Soccer Coach for Lenoir-Rhyne in 2016 after serving as an assistant coach for the Bears the past three years.

Winter led the Bears to one of their best seasons in school history this past fall as Lenoir-Rhyne went 12-5-3 on the year and advanced to the Second Round of the NCAA Division II Playoffs.  The Bears qualified for the playoffs for the first time in 10 years.

Winter also coached Ismael Noumansana to 2016 South Atlantic Conference Player-Of-The-Year honors.

Winter was an all-conference, all-region and All-American honoree at Lynn University and led the Fighting Knights to the NCAA Division II National Championship in men's soccer in 2012.

Winter transferred to Lynn after attending Hartpury College in England where he also won a national championship.

Winter has two silver medals representing Great Britain at the World University Games in China (2011) and Russia (2013) as well.

In addition, Winter played for Fulham FC's Youth Academy and holds seven caps for Wales at the Youth Level.

Jasmin Dutton, Assistant Coach

Jasmin Dutton is beginning her second year as a Graduate Assistant Coach for Lenoir-Rhyne University in 2015.

Dutton has her USSF National E Coaching License and has coached club soccer in both Tennessee and North Carolina.

Dutton earned her bachelor's degree in exercise science from East Tennessee State this past May.  As a member of the Buccaneers' Women's Soccer Team, Dutton earned All-Southern Conference First-Team honors last fall after finishing with 18 assists as ETSU finished 15-6 on the season.

Dutton, a native of Kinmel Bay, Wales, was a four-year letterwinner (2011-14) for East Tennessee State.  Dutton will start work on her Master's of Business Administration this academic year.

Hector Ladero Rivas, Graduate Assistant

Hector Ladero Rivas just completed his first year as a Graduate Assistant Coach for the Lenoir-Rhyne Men's Soccer Team in 2016.

Rivas was part of a coaching staff which led the Bears to a 12-5-3 record this past fall and a berth in the Second Round of the NCAA Division II Playoffs.  LR was making its first playoff appearance in 10 seasons.

Rivas came to Lenoir-Rhyne from Salamanca, Spain, where he played soccer at a very high level for four years.  The teams included Real Union de Irun, C.D. Numancia, C.D. Celta Vigo and U.D. Salamanca.

After his time in Spain, Rivas moved to the United States where he played soccer for the Myrtle Beach Mutiny of the National Premiere Soccer League for two years while obtaining his undergraduate degree in business from St. Andrews University in Laurinburg, North Carolina, in December of 2015.

Rivas spent last summer working as a coach with the FC Barcelona camps in the United States and earned both USSF “F” and “E” coaching licenses.

Brandon Costa, Goalkeepers Coach

Brandon Costa is beginning his first year as a graduate assistant coach for Lenoir-Rhyne Women’s Soccer Team in 2016. Costa is the team’s goalkeepers coach.

Costa played for the University of Colorado Colorado Springs where he obtained his bachelor’s degree in economics in 2014.

Costa also played three years in the PDL (Premiere Development League) for teams such as the South Carolina Bantams and the Real Colorado Foxes.

Costa comes to Lenoir-Rhyne after serving as an Assistant Coach for Erskine College in Due West, S.C. Costa also has is USSF “E” and “F” licenses.

Costa is a native of Folly Beach, S.C., and a graduate of Bishop England High School.  Costa also serves as the goalkeepers' coach for the men's squad at Lenoir-Rhyne as well.